It's official: more than half of Americans now own smartphones. The truth is, most of us probably would have guessed this figure to be much higher. The percentage is certainly growing, however, presenting a number of opportunities for retailers to engage with consumers on an individual basis and when they're most likely to purchase. But consider the flip side: slightly less than half of America, or about 155 million people, is still without smartphones. Instead of leaving them in the dust by focusing exclusively on mobile-only campaigns, retailers should seize the opportunity to close the gap by engaging both audiences where it matters most — at the point of sale.
When it comes to retailers, big data is perhaps a little too big. Half of retailers can't aggregate all their data in one place to make detailed reports and conclusions. Forty-five percent don't use available data to personalize marketing communications, and another 42 percent can't link data together at the individual customer level. That's perhaps understandable, because 90 percent of the data that's ever been created has been created in the last two years, and the rate of data growth is increasing quickly.
Every November, as retailers dig deep into their bag of tricks, battling each other and their online counterparts for your wallet, the demand for innovation often sparks collaborations with new startups and their novel technologies. For Best Buy, this means partnering with Nashville-based startup eco Interactive, which specializes in "card-linked offers." These are deals tied directly to customers' credit cards through partnerships forged with banks, such as Ally Bank and Fifth Third Bank, two of edo's current collaborators, which consumers can redeem just by swiping said credit cards.
Voice software is joining the migration to the Cloud, giving large, midsize and small retailers the opportunity to leverage the latest, most advanced technologies for optimizing warehouse operations. Cloud-based voice solutions help retailers more effectively receive, act on and communicate information critical to their business without requiring significant internal IT costs. Using internet connectivity, retailers can quickly implement voice software to improve business processes while bypassing the traditional up-front cost, time and resource commitments associated with on-premise solutions.
Macy's is adding Black Friday-themed enhancements to its mobile app, available beginning Nov. 15. Shoppers with the Macy's app on their Apple iOS devices will be able to view in-store Black Friday specials, create personal shopping lists and receive "push" notifications with details on previously unadvertised specials. Through the app, the retailer will also provide information on store-specific specials and help shoppers navigate by sending the department name and floor for the specials in each store.
The most clicked through article of the week deals with a topic that many retailers have either dealt with recently or will be forced to deal with in the near future: upgrading their e-commerce platform. As the e-commerce industry continues to evolve and consumers increasingly make purchases online, having an e-commerce platform that can handle this growing traffic as well as offer all the latest bells and whistles has become a requirement for retailers selling their merchandise online.
Starting October 14, Target will feature 20 toys at the front of its aisles promoted with signs featuring QR codes. Shoppers with smartphones can scan the codes to buy any of those items and have them shipped free. "Providing this convenience for mom is about ensuring that she's able to shop the way that she wants to," said Stephanie Lucy, Target's vice president of toys and the mother of two who knows about not wanting to ruin the surprise of the holidays.
Barnes & Noble said on Tuesday it would introduce a new video store for its Nook products this fall, the latest expansion of the bookseller's digital content. The service will allow customers to stream and download movies and television shows for a fee onto TV's and mobile devices, while storing the content in the Nook cloud. The video catalog includes HBO shows, like "Game of Thrones" and "True Blood," and movies including "The Artist" and "Toy Story 3."
It's tough being a rich and famous fashion mogul. You've seen the best of the world. You have exclusive access to private events. You have expensive tastes — as you should. And then all of a sudden, Google hands you a fancy new toy. That has been the case for famed designer Diane Von Furstenburg, who has been playing with Google Glass, the tech company's wearable augmented reality glasses hardware.
Amazon.com could be taking its rivalry with Apple out of households — and onto the streets. According to a report yesterday, the online retailer has been developing its own-brand smartphone and, although it's doubtful that the launch is imminent, we could be hearing about it at the retailer's press conference in Los Angeles.